Gamay, Old and New
He was ranked a "superchef" in the July 2002 issue of Food & Wine magazine for Gamay Bistro (320 Decatur St., 299-8800), but Greg Sonnier and his wife Mary now run just one restaurant, Gabrielle (3201 Esplanade Ave., 948-6233). They sold Gamay Bistro to an Atlanta couple, Matt Caldwell and Claudia Trius. According to Gamay's general manager, Morgan Stroud, Caldwell and Trius worked at a restaurant called Rainwater in Atlanta and fell for Gamay when vacationing not long ago in New Orleans. When they learned from an industry connection that Gamay was for sale, they jumped on it. Like Stroud, much of Gamay's staff has stayed on, including chef de cuisine Henry Newton, whose buttermilk-battered fried chicken with red beans and rice remains on the menu. Caldwell has introduced new salmon, sea bass, grouper and lamb chop entrees, as well as an appetizer of blackberry-barbecued duck confit with Texas toast and field greens dressed in maple vinaigrette. Gamay now serves a three-course lunch for $16.95 on Fridays and has plans to open for more frequent lunches soon.
Kitchens of Distinction
Besides Sonnier, other New Orleans "superchefs" mentioned in Food & Wine are Susan Spicer for Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 525-4455), Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's (723 Dante St., 861-7610), Anne Kearney of Peristyle (1041 Dumaine St., 593-9535), John Besh for August Restaurant (301 Tchoupitoulas, 299-9777) and John Harris of Lilette (3637 Magazine St., 895-1636). Harris earned this year's Best New Chef honors, while the other "superchefs" earned the distinction in previous years.
This Thursday at 5 p.m., join Wine Seller (5000 Prytania St., 899-6000) owner Ben Lazich for a tasting of California wines at Beaucoup Books (5414 Magazine St., 895-2663). The event centers around the publication of Wines of California, A Mitchell Beazley Wine Guide (Phaidon Press, $14.95) by Stephen Brook.
This week's column powered by a still-warm cinnamon roll at the Bagel Factory on St. Charles Avenue.